Answer to Question #11106 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I read a few articles online about how patients who have received radioactive iodine treatment and were going to hotels to recover rather than their private residences. Does this really happen? This concerns me. I worry about staying in hotels with my small children or my family staying in hotels and coming to visit bringing what they have picked up at a hotel into the my house with small children.


Patients who are released from a hospital after receiving iodine therapy can go home or to a hotel; regulations allow either. They have been released with instructions on how to minimize radiation exposure to their family and to others in the public.

There are several studies showing, whether at home or in a hotel, there is minimal radiation contamination of items; the biggest radiation exposure hazard early on is the person containing the radioactivity. At least one study has also shown that, if a patient goes to a hotel, cleaning staff are the most exposed group of people, not persons who use the same room after the stay.

I have to admit that I wouldn't be concerned for myself or my children being in a hotel room after an iodine therapy patient. I tend to worry more about the general cleanliness of the room and the bedding, but that isn't due to radiation.
Kelly Classic, Certified Medical Physicist

Answer posted on 10 December 2014. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.